In addition to his career in public service, Beckett works as a referee in the Atlantic Coast Conference. He sees parallels between the two positions, saying city managers and referees must have a “thorough understanding of the rules” and the ability to work under pressure.
Name: Billy Beckett
Occupation: Retired local government manager
Family: Married, three grown sons, 3 granddaughters
Education: B.A. Concord College (now University) majors in Sociology and Geography; M.U.A. Virginia Tech, concentration in Public Management and additional graduate work in Urban & Regional Planning
How long have you worked as an interim city manager, and what other cities have you served in that capacity?
A: My career in local government spanned 36 years prior to my retirement from full-time service. During my career I worked in several states and for several jurisdictions as a city manager, a county manager, and the executive director of an RDC. I began work as an interim manager for Adairsville on Nov. 17, 2013. Previously I served the city of Hiram as an interim manager.
When an interim city manager is hired, what do you believe should be his or her most important goal in running the city’s day-to-day operations?
A: In my opinion the fundamental goal of an interim manager should be to provide stability within the organization, for the governing body and for the community. Typically, each community has established varying goals and objectives for the assignment and it should be the role of the interim manager to facilitate those designated goals and objectives in the most effective and efficient manner possible.
Are there any specific challenges or opportunities you are facing as the interim city manager in Adairsville?
A: The city of Adairsville is presented with so many positive opportunities for its future. I have been very impressed with the attitude of community residents, and especially the governing body, to continue moving forward and building on the foundation that has already been established here. Favorable opportunities especially exist in community development and redevelopment, economic development and enhancement, and the delivery of public services.
You have a background in refereeing football. What led you to becoming a referee, and are you still active in that capacity?
A: I have been involved in sports in one capacity or another almost my entire life. It was a natural evolution for me to continue my direct involvement in, and love for, sports through officiating. It has been a special honor for me to have officiated both soccer and football at a high level and, yes, I am for now, continuing to officiate college football as a proud member of the staff of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Do you believe there are any similarities between acting as a referee and serving as a city manager?
A: There are many similarities between officiating and service as a city manager. To name just a few, one has to consistently exercise good judgment, have a thorough understanding of rules and the philosophies associated with applying those rules, possess an ability to make good decisions under pressure, enjoy interacting with people under a variety of circumstances and possess a recognition that it is impossible to please 100 percent of the people 100 percent of the time.
If you had a dream job, what would it be?
A: I have had the good fortune to have had my dream jobs at this stage of my life. I have generally enjoyed a career in government, where I have been able to be directly and indirectly involved with helping people and communities and, certainly, my involvement with athletics has created so many wonderful memories and has brought so many positive people and experiences into my life that I know I have been blessed. Perhaps, if anything, once I retire from the field, some other door will open to keep me involved with athletics in another capacity.
What is your greatest achievement?
A: Asking me about my greatest achievement is like asking me which flavor of ice cream I prefer. As a manager I hope I have touched the lives of most of the people I have come in contact with in a positive way, and I believe I have usually attained that goal. As an official, I have been blessed to have worked so many wonderful games in many exciting environments and have come in contact with and developed lasting relationships with brother officials literally from across the world. As a person I have experienced giving and receiving the love and affection of my family and friends and I have, as previous stated, been blessed in so many ways. I would say that my achievements are not mine alone, no one achieves anything without the care, assistance and support of others and so many others — too many to mention — deserve credit for anything I may have achieved in my life.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A: I’m not sure that people who know me would be very surprised at anything they may learn about me. I tend to have multiple and diverse interests and love all that life brings — the good as well as the not so good. We grow from all experiences.
Do you have a personal motto?
A: I really don’t have a specific personal motto, but one that I do use frequently is, “It’s not the mountain ahead that wears you down, it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.”
If you were to write your autobiography or memoirs, what would the title be?
A: I suppose if I were to write my memoirs the title would be “OK, What’s Next?”